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Stellar evolution

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A "modified" Hubble Space Telescope image showing the theoretic life cycle of a star-forming region.

Stellar evolution is the field of astronomy that describes the theoretic changes that stars are believed to undergo during their life cycle, including star formation. Since these changes are believed to occur over millions or even billions of years, astrophysicists theorize about how stars evolve by observing numerous stars, each at a different point in its life cycle, and simulating stellar structure with computer models.

Operational Science and Stellar Evolution

lifecycle of a star.

Testing stellar evolution is very difficult since the interiors of stars cannot be seen. It would take an exceedingly long time to watch individual stars go through these cycles. Many stars are used to determine the sequences. Furthermore, supernovas producing neutron stars are the only observed star changes associated with stellar evolution. This does not prove that any other changes occur.

The Theoretical Stellar Life Cycle

H-R Diagram

The H-R Diagram is a plot of a star's temperature and luminosity. It is a useful tool in comparing stars.

Related References